Beethoven monument on the Beethovenplatz square in Vienna, Austria. The monument was unveiled in 1880.
The last movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony gave us 'Ode to Joy', one of the most famous tunes of all time. But the composer initially thought he'd made a grave mistake with it.
Johann Sebastian Bach was 30 when he became head of music in Anhalt-Cöthen, in what is now Germany. Here he started an uncharted experiment in classical music: solo works for string instruments.
Boris Kustodiev, The Bolshevik, 1920.
Sergei Rachmaninoff fled the Russian revolution 100 years ago. Spending the remainder of his life in the US, he composed what is perhaps his greatest work in 1940, the Symphonic Dances.
The 1976 memorial at the Babi Yar massacre site only recognised Soviet victims, despite the killing of more than 30,000 Jewish people. In 1991 a Jewish memorial was installed nearby.
On September 29 1941, Nazis murdered more than 30,000 Jews in a ravine outside Kiev. Dmitri Shostakovich's 13th Symphony, Babi Yar, is a damning critique of the Soviet Union's lack of recognition of the massacre, and a condemnation of Stalinism.
In Franz Schubert’s Winterreise (winter’s journey), a man steps out on a mid-winter night to rid himself of his lost love.
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A year before his death at 31 Franz Schubert published 'Winterreise' or 'winter's journey', a series of 24 poems set to music exploring unrequited love. Schubert described them as 'truly terrible'.
Debussy’s Clair de Lune belongs to the Impressionist movement, which included visual artists like Claude Monet.
Debussy's Clair de Lune, meaning 'moonlight', is one of the most easily recognised pieces of music, but its origins are complex. The piece was influenced by poetry, Baroque music and the Impressionist movement.
Composing a symphonic landscape: Caspar David Friedrich’s 1818 oil painting, Wanderer above the Sea of Fog.
With An Alpine Symphony, Richard Strauss achieved something remarkable: the painting of the German alps, complete with cow meadows and waterfalls, in sound.
Brahms’ piano quartet in G minor was composed for a piano, a violin, a viola and a cello.
The 29-year old Johannes Brahms had his first major public success with his piano quartet in G minor, but not everyone gave it glowing praise.
Franz Liszt in his home in Weimar, 1884.
Bergen Public Library Norway/Flickr
Whoever finds it beautiful is beyond help, quipped critic Eduard Hanslick upon hearing Franz Liszt’s Sonata in B minor for the first time. Fortunately, posterity did not agree with him.
Carl Seffner’s 1908 statue of J.S. Bach in front of St. Thomas Church, Leipzig, Germany.
Johann Sebastian Bach's The Art of Fugue is a work of high art. But in keeping with the late works of artists such as Shakespeare, Beethoven and Goya, it contains elements of pathos, humour, gravity, exuberance and tragedy.